University of Vermont

Former President Daniel Mark Fogel


To: University of Vermont Faculty
From: Daniel Mark Fogel, President
Date: October 31, 2006
Re: A Call to Engagement in the Future of The University of Vermont

I hope you will read the essay "Signatures of Excellence: UVM in the 21st Century" so that you can be an informed participant in a dialogue about the future of UVM. The University faculty has been central to the advance of UVM in recent years through superb teaching at all levels that has drawn increasingly strong students to our programs, through research, scholarship, and creative activity that have brought distinction to the University (and that rank us number one nationally in NSF data on federal R&D expenditures for Carnegie research institutions with 14,000 or fewer students), and in outreach programs that express the Land Grant ethos of service to our State and to society at large. And of course faculty have been the leaders of curricular and programmatic change, from new doctoral programs such as Computer Science and Neuroscience to the creation of the Honors College and the launching of our newest residential learning communities. Only if faculty members remain committed and engaged will UVM sustain its strong upward momentum. We need you.

Although this is the way of the academy, it is more especially the UVM way. It is not enough to have a shared vision for UVM: as an institution we are committed to making it real, and the faculty must be central to that effort. I know that the ten pages of the essay will seem very long to some of our faculty, staff, and students. Because it has been written to intensify and accelerate efforts to attain our educational aspirations and vision for UVM, and because we need members of all of those groups to take active roles in this bold undertaking, we are sending it to everyone. I hope you will accept this call for participation.

The essay seeks to identify the foundations on which a UVM education will be built in the 21st century: principles that will stand the test of time and educational imperatives that provide a strategic framework within which to articulate and realize UVM’s distinct identity. As we did in the 2003 Vision Statement, we also describe what UVM might be like in ten years if the University develops along the lines envisioned here.

The document centers on the programmatic richness called for in the letter I sent you when I came back a month ago. It has been shaped by a full year of dialogue that began with a discussion with the deans last fall in which we developed the proposed new Mission Statement for UVM that opens the essay, focused on development of “accountable leaders.” Dialogue continued with a two-day retreat for faculty, staff, and student leaders last January, and then with a similar, one-day retreat in June in which participants discussed an earlier draft of this essay.

In sum, the essay seeks to deepen and sharpen our expression, expectations, and delivery of the educational experience at UVM. The retreat in June was moderated by Faculty Senate President Justin Joffe, for the process of curricular change must be faculty-centered, and the associated development of outcomes assessment and of improved teaching and learning strategies will necessarily be deliberative, with its primary locus in the Faculty Senate. Always, we will be working toward one overarching goal: to be the nation's premier small public research university, providing a truly exceptional educational experience for every UVM student and an extraordinary environment for the professional development of our faculty and staff. We have no illusion that all the proposals in our essay will come out of the dialogue unchanged or that some of them will even survive the ensuing conversation, but we do have a very strong expectation that the process will lead to constructive change along the broad trajectory of aspiration and value we have described. Please read the executive summary even if you do not read the full essay. Comments and suggestions may be addressed to me at

Last modified September 24 2013 09:01 AM

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